Audi has tweaked its R8 supercar line-up with a new rear-wheel-drive version of the mid-range V10 Performance model. Replacing the existing V10 RWD model as the entry point to R8 ownership, the new variant comes with an extra 30 bhp and adds almost £10,000 to the starting price.
Up to now, the basic R8 has been the 532 bhp V10 RWD, which had a less powerful engine than the mid-range, all-wheel-drive models but promised a lower asking price and a driving experience more suited to supercar purists. But that model has been replaced by the new £126,885 V10 Performance RWD version, which gets the four-wheel-drive car’s 562 bhp V10.
Despite the extra power, performance is more or less unchanged, and the new car will dash from 0-62 mph in as little as 3.7 seconds. However, the top speed increases from 199 mph in the outgoing RWD car to 204 mph in the new model.
And Audi is promising the newcomer will be the “embodiment of fun driving”, with a limited-slip rear differential for maximum traction. The suspension is also tuned to work with the rear-drive layout, and Audi has fitted ‘dynamic’ steering for the first time, claiming that will make the car feel more “direct” at high speed and more “comfortable” at low speeds.
Externally, the V10 Performance RWD looks much like any other R8 model, although the interior gets an RWD badge in front of the passenger, and there’s no reference to the Quattro system. Other than that, it’s fairly conventional R8 fayre.
That means you get 19-inch twin-spoke forged alloy wheels, a gloss black styling pack,
and R8 sports seats trimmed with Nappa leather. You also get a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a digital instrument display and wireless charging, while the R8’s side blades are finished in body colour.
If you want, though, you can upgrade to the Edition model, which adds £11,000 to the price tag and provides 20-inch cast aluminium alloy wheels in bronze, diamond contrast stitching abd carbon side blades. The Edition also comes with black Audi rings and door mirror caps, a Bang & Olufsen stereo and red brake callipers.
Customers can also choose to have the V10 Performance RWD in convertible ‘Spyder’ form, although that does blunt the performance very slightly. Where the Coupe offers a 0-62 mph time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 204 mph, the Spyder manages 3.8 seconds and 203 mph.
“The Audi R8 V10 RWD really struck a chord with customers right from the start with its rear-wheel drive derived from the R8 LMS race car and its unfiltered dynamics,” said Audi Sport director Sebastian Grams. “Now it has 30 bhp and 7 lb-ft more [torque], taking the driving experience to a whole new level.”
The new R8 V10 Performance RWD will go on sale in the UK on October 21, 2021, with prices starting at £126,885 for the Coupe and £135,575 for the Spyder.